The deadline for developers to register with the New Homes Quality Board is coming up on 31 December 2022, have you registered yet?
New Homes Quality Board
The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) is an independent not-for-profit body set up to oversee reforms in the build quality of new homes and the customer service provided by developers. The NHQB published the New Homes Quality Code of Practice (the Code) in December 2021, which sets out requirements that developers registered with the NHQB must adopt and comply with when selling a new home.
If registered developers do not comply with the Code, unhappy buyers can refer their case to the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS).
The NHQB website states that all developers of private, for sale new homes can register as there is no minimum criteria to apply.
The NHQB states that all developers are required to register with them by 31 December 2022. However, there is currently no legal obligation for developers to do this.
So why register with the NHQB within the deadline if there is no legal obligation to do so?
- It could save you delays in the long run if you register now.
It is anticipated that some lenders and warranty providers may make registration a prerequisite to accessing their products. The NHQB’s registration process can be quite involved and will take a bit of time to complete (further details below). Therefore, if your warranty provider, or a buyer’s lender, requires you to be registered, there could be delays while you deal with the NHQB’s registration requirements.
It is hard to say at the moment how popular the scheme will be with lenders and warranty providers.
2. It could give buyers added confidence in you and improve sales.
According to the NHQB’s website “Over 80% of all large/medium developers have already applied, along with many smaller organisations”. Examples of registered developers include Barratt Homes, Redrow Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Sigma Homes. These companies have the NHQB logo on their websites and documentation. Seeing this logo on promotional materials may therefore become common place and something consumers look out for when purchasing a new build property.
3. It may become a legal requirement in the future.
The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022) gives powers to the Secretary of State which could be used to make registration with the scheme a legal requirement. The NHQB has advised that all indications to date are that the Government supports the framework being introduced by the NHQB.
4. It’s unclear what will happen after the 31 December deadline.
The NHQB website does not state what will happen if developers miss the 31 December deadline. However, it may be that the NHQB review their registration requirements after this time, or they may reassess the registration fees.
If you want to sign up with the NHQB there are two main steps:
- Developers must apply using the NHQB’s online portal and pay the annual registration fee which is based on the developer’s annual turnover.
Resources will then be provided to assist the developer when preparing to meet the NHQB’s requirements. There will be a transition period that gives the developer time to ensure they have complied with all of these requirements (e.g. training, updating complaints procedures and sales documentation, branding, etc.)
- Once the developer has met all of the NHQB’s requirements their account will be activated on a mutually agreed date. Developers will then appear on the NHQB’s Register of Developers and be required to comply with the Code and NHOS for all reservations taken from the activation date.
In summary, there is no legal obligation on developers to register before the deadline, however, it is probably better to get registered with the NHQB sooner rather than later due to the delay that could arise if they don’t, and the comfort this could give buyers. Therefore the 31 December deadline is a sensible one to adhere to.
For further details on the New Homes Quality Board, the Code, or the new ombudsmen that has been set up, please refer to the NHQB website. Alternatively, please contact one of the members of the Commercial Property Department at GA Solicitors on 01752 203503.